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Social protection systems equally important for rural, urban populations, says Marvi

Social protection systems equally important for rural, urban populations, says Marvi

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State and Chairperson of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Marvi Memon has said that social protection systems are as important for people living in urban areas as for rural populations.

She said that understanding the emerging practices and learning the needs of equitable and inclusive development in urban areas is very important from the prospective of any social safety net. Ms Memon was speaking at the ministerial session at 2015 South-South Learning Forum on ‘Emerging Social Protection Systems in an Urbanising World’ in Beijing on Friday.

Also read: Balochistan CM complains of ‘corruption’ in BISP

The session was also attended by ministers from Egypt, Ukraine and Ethiopia. Around 250 policymakers from 75 countries have gathered in Beijing for the conference.

The BISP chief shed light on the economic growth of Pakistan and shared many economic milestones achieved by the present government, putting country on the path of progress and prosperity.

While describing the growth and achievements of the BISP as an organisation, she said that within a short span of seven years, the BISP had achieved what many organisations and programmes had not in decades.

According to her, the BISP today is rated among the best Social Safety Net programmes of the world. The BISP has grown at an impressive pace with the number of beneficiaries increasing from 1.7 million in 2008 to over 5.1m now. Its annual disbursement has increased from $160m in 2008 to $900m in 2014. The budgetary allocation for the current fiscal year is about $1 billion.

She highlighted various initiatives of the BISP relating to monitoring, evaluation, transparency, education, health and graduation strategies. She said that by exploring new avenues of cooperation and adopting technology-based innovative solutions, the BISP is diligently working for the welfare of poor beneficiaries.

In order to strengthen cooperation among the Social Safety Net programmes around the world, Ms Memon made several proposals. She said that a league of Social Safety Nets may be set up which would provide a forum to all the stakeholders for sharing knowledge and workable innovations.

She said the forum would help in exchanging ideas and best practices which could be beneficial for the welfare of the marginalised segments of global society.

Another proposal floated by her was related to launching of a `Sisters in Success’ initiative in all the countries having social safety net programmes. The`Sisters in Success’ initiative has already been launched by the BISP under which three women committees are being constituted.

The first committee will comprise international women leaders; second will consist of successful Pakistani women and; the third one will have the BISP’s beneficiaries.

The chain of these committees will be used for the awareness, empowerment and projection of the poor beneficiaries of the BISP. She proposed that the next South-South Learning Forum might be held in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2015

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